Holte farm

by admin on 10/05/2013

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Halvor Olsen and his family are breeding chickens, geese and ducks at their farm in Drangedal, located in the county of Telemark. They started with Norwegian white goose in 1984, buying eggs from goose breeders in Norway, expanding to ducks in 1989 and chickens some years later. Unlike most poultry farmers in Norway, this farm is totally independent of any country-wide cooperatives, giving the Olsen family the opportunity to concentrate on quality instead of quantity. This entails letting their animals have lots of space, about 7 chickens per square metre against a common number of 23-25, feeding the animals organically grown cereals from their own farm mixed with maize, letting them live longer and grow slower, never feeding them antibiotics, ample amount of daylight, letting them sleep for 9 hours a night, letting them roam inside enclosures weather permitting,and keeping all floors dry by sprinkling them daily with straw. Last, but not least, slaughtering all their animals on the farm, letting a person they are familiar with bring them to the slaughterhouse where they are rendered unconscious by means of high voltage, then finished off by hanging them upside down and chopping off their heads. Then, the bodies are emptied of blood, scalded and all feathers and down are removed. Finally, they are refrigerated or frozen.

A wide selection of poultry products are sold at the farm shop and in well-assorted food stores. A partial list includes:

  • Whole duck
  • Whole goose
  • Gourmet chicken
  • Organic chicken
  • Organic eggs
  • Chicken wings
  • Duck fat – made by heating duck meat carefully such that the fat will melt. The fat is separated, poured into ceramic jars and cooled.
  • Duck crop confit – the crop of the duck is cooked in duck fat and stored in ceramic jars.
  • Duck sylte – sylte (a Norwegian word) is made from duck meat and fat together with oregano.
  • Spicy chicken sausage

When we visited Holte farm, Halvor Olsen willingly showed us around his farm, letting us see his hens in one building and chickens in another one. While the hens were high and low, the chickens were walking around on the floor of a large, light room seemingly staying in small groups and making low, squeaky sounds. The mature ducks were staying in another room, made slightly nervous by our presence, quacking and walking back and forth continuously. Unfortunately, it was a quite cold day and Halvor wouldn’t let his animals walk outside.

We also visited their farm shop where customers came and went frequently. Besides selling their own products, they also offer products like apple juice, goat cheese, flat bread, herbs, tea, cheese, and sausages from other small-scale producers.

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